Generation Z needs your help in the workplace
Many of us perhaps thought the younger generation would find it easiest to adapt to remote working during the pandemic. Primarily because they’re more used to (and often better at) digital solutions than older generations. Of course, mastering the technology is an advantage when the office closes and the whole organisation is suddenly based online. But that headstart doesn’t seem to give the same advantage when it comes to personal wellbeing.
A study carried out by Microsoft shows that ‘Generation Z’ – in other words, people born between 1997 and 2012 – is the generation that struggled most with remote working during the pandemic. The study showed that participants in this age group found it more difficult to remain engaged and interested in their work, to make their voices heard during meetings and to present new ideas, compared to older generations.
Feedback from employees and managers is particularly important for young people.
One possible reason why Gen Z found remote working harder than other age groups is that many of them are at the very start of their careers. They are new to working life and the workplace, and consequently need greater support and clear guidance than their colleagues who are used to the world of work. This can be a difficult situation for both employers and employees when it comes to remote working. Another aspect is their housing situation. Younger people typically have less space at home and so don’t have optimal conditions for working remotely. For example, it’s more difficult to separate work and private life if you live in a small studio flat compared to a larger home with a separate office space. Young people are also more likely to live alone, which makes the social aspect of a workplace particularly important.
Generation Z is an important part of the workforce and they contribute a unique and valuable perspective. So it should be in every employer’s interest to take good care of them.
- Feedback from employees and managers is particularly important for young people. It’s important that you have regular communication with the employee and communicate that, as a manager, you’re available to them even if you’re not physically in the same place. People appreciate a short email every day more than they do a weekly summary on Mondays.
- Utilise their competence and make them feel needed. For example, a young employee with technical knowledge could guide their older colleagues through the new digital landscape. This also helps cultivate relationships in the workplace.
Gen Z is experiencing high levels of stress, and many of them suffer with anxiety and depression. So, employers must learn to recognise the warning signs of mental ill-health and, above all, be able to provide support and tools to help employees feel better.